The meeting was held on Tuesday October 29, 2019 at 12:15 p.m. at the official headquarters of the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (DARP – Government of Catalonia) located in Barcelona. 

The conference was convened to promote the correct dissemination of information and explore the possible synergies within the same institution, with the overall objective of addressing the QUALIFY project in the most accurate way and with the commitment to ensure an optimal intra-departmental organization. In this sense, attendees summoned to the meeting were directors and administration staff of the region of Catalonia who could be interested in the project, or that carry out lines of work that could converge. 

The day was inaugurated by the Deputy Director-General for Agri-food Inspection and Control, Glòria Cugat, who in her speech emphasized the commitment of the Administration to boost the growth and internationalization of small and medium-sized companies in the agri-food sector of Catalonia, underlining that this is a key sector in the Catalan economy. 

Subsequently, the technician of the QUALIFY project within the Department, María Peña, presented the scope, the logical framework and the objectives that will be addressed during the duration of the project, also exposing each of the activities that will be carried out to effectively achieve the defined purposes. 

Later, Ricard Esparza, the technical advisor of the project and professor at the UAB, approached in depth the possible ways of working and the various financial instruments to take into account in order to meet the goals set, to assess the correlation between the members of the Department and trainees or common labour interests. 

To end the day, Mrs. Rosa Biel, inter-territorial inspector of Barcelona, and Eva Gomar, ST inspector of Barcelona, presented a SWOT (weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities) in front of those attending the study focused on Catalan food and agriculture SMEs, presenting a research about the current state of the sector and its needs. 

The day ended with a roundtable, where SWOT was discussed among those attending, a total of 19 members of the DARP, who participated actively by adding knowledge from their practical experience and providing a global view on The news of agro-food SMEs in Catalonia. 

The attendees discussed the need to guide the public intervention and the financial instruments managed by the Government to deal with the issues of the project with a view to giving them a wider relevance in those calls of the ERDF instrument that allow the agri-food SMEs to obtain funding. Thus, the participants made a reflection on how public funds could contribute to the objectives of the project, and also made a special mention to the plurality of instruments beyond the ERDF and the possibilities that this poses in order to seek synergies between the different funds. 

Among the assistant’s interventions, the importance of Catalan gastronomy and the quality of its products has also been highlighted, emphasizing that it is a reference of the Mediterranean Diet. 

The existence of a unit promoters of Catalan agri-food exports, such as PRODECA, has been treated, which have proved proactive to collaborate in the various activities of the project. 

The attendees agreed that DARP has a great experience in fund management and participation in more European projects, which can provide us with synergies and experience.

Some challenges and difficulties such as the general confusion of consumers were addressed due to the existence of a large number of quality labels and marks, as well as little clarity in the concepts of quality and / or authenticity.

Finally, attendees pointed out that, among the opportunities it is important to evaluate the initiatives carried out by the DARP in support of companies, either through the elaboration of documents on the web, training days and publications, as well as the creation of the Alimentary Channel, which allows us to continue exploiting new tools for digitization and marketing, promoting more effective means of communication.